CHILDREN from Midhurst Primary School swapped exam papers for a woodland adventure today (Friday May 17).
It was a special treat after all their hard work and organised by teachers at the school to celebrate the end of their ‘SATS’ exams.
The children enjoyed romping through the bluebell woods at Woolbeding Parkland and put their new outdoor skills into practice lighting a fire to toast marshmallows.
Since September last year children at the school have had the opportunity to take part in outdoor learning sessions through their Forest School programme.
The programme has been led by assistant headteacher Sally Clarke and has already included children from years 4, 5 and 6 who have all had access to the Half Moon Covert, a piece of woodland lent to the school by the National Trust.
“The children have been able to learn about fire lighting, den building, knot tying, using Kelly kettles, tree identification and more,” said headteacher Matthew Barnes, “and we are very grateful to Fiona Scully from the National Trust who secured the woodland for the school use.
“Following their extensive efforts to do well in their SATS, the year 6s were given a ‘free choice session in the woodland where they were able to put their new found skills to the test, as well as enjoy hot chocolate and marshmallows around the camp fire,” said Mr Barnes.
Plans are now in place for children in year 3 to learn in the woodland with Mr Barnes and another teacher Miss Maxfield who are both about to complete their ‘Forest School’ training as part of the Rother Valley initiative being led by Helen Martin at Graffham and Duncton School.
Sally Clarke leader of Midhurst Primary School’s Forest School Programme said:
“The children have flourished in the woodland, particularly those who find learning outside supportive in their development.
“We feel very privileged to have access to the Half Moon Covert and thank National Trust warden Fiona Scully and the trust for their on-going support in all we are doing.
“We are looking forward to extending the programme out for children of all ages in the school in the next couple of years.
“The woodland is beautiful and it has been fantastic to see it change over the last 12 months that we have been using it.
“It has been particularly great seeing the spectacular bluebells at this time of year.”